NFL Players Visit New York Middle School
Some days, kids just don't want to go to school. But last Tuesday was a day that students at Manhattan's Public School 126 did not want to miss.
Why not? Because they got to play football with the New York Giants.
Members of the team were on hand to kick off the second year of Keep Gym In School, a national effort to boost fitness and physical education in schools. The program is sponsored by the NFL Network and supported by Verizon FiOS TV and the NFL.
New York State First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson was on hand, joined by New York City Deputy Mayor Dennis M. Wolcott; Lori Rose Benson, the director of fitness and health education for New York City Public Schools; State Senator Daniel Squadron; and Andrés Irlando, Verizon's president for the New York region.
The kids were most excited to see gridiron heroes such as star cornerback Corey Webster. Webster was drafted by the Giants in 2005. In 2007, he intercepted Brett Farvre's final pass as a Green Bay Packer in the NFC Championship Game, sending the team to Super Bowl 42, where they beat the New England Patriots, spoiling at team's undefeated season. Also on hand were defensive end Dave Tollefson, rookie wide receiver Ramses Barden, cornerback Terrell Thomas, plus practice squadders Vince Anderson and Shareff Rashad.
Public School 126 is also called the Manhattan Academy of Technology, but that doesn't mean they don't do sports. MAT offers tennis, baseball, golf and even surfing. They were one of four schools in the U.S. chosen to receive a $50,000 grant from Keep Gym In School, which they will use to purchase new physical education equipment.
The kids were excited to meet real-life NFL players, but the players enjoyed themselves as well.
"I'm really having a great time," Giants' Corey Webster said to me in an interview. "The kids gave us a really, really great response, a lot of great energy, I couldn't ask for anything better... I'm in awe right here, this is great." (And that's from a guy who won a Super Bowl.)
For one of the students it was even better -- "He got to meet Corey Webster on his birthday," his dad, Gilbert Carabello, told me.
Elisa Sansone, a teacher at MAT, was also pleased. "It's a wonderful day, and I'm glad it's happening this early in the year. It really re-energizes our team sports," she said.
And sure, the kids were excited, but "so were we" she added as we watched her students running drills -- and getting autographs. The teachers got a few of those as well.
For more about Keep Gym In School, visit KeepGymInSchool.com.
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